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Booking.com reveals the challenges LGBTQ+ Travellers still face, and the importance of Proud community

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Fri, 07/01/2022 - 07:02
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Booking.com’ research exposes that the barriers to inclusive travel still remain for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Bangkok, Thailand - Positive experiences, adventure, and enjoyment should be associated with the term "travel" and its connotations. However, the reality of travel can often paint a very different picture for many LGBTQ+ travellers from around the world. According to new research conducted by leading digital travel platform Booking.com among LGBTQ+ travellers in 25 countries around the world, 82% of LGBTQ+ travellers worldwide, and 87% of LGBTQ+ travellers from Thailand, have had less than welcoming, or uncomfortable experiences while travelling.

LGBTQ

 

The reality of LGBTQ+ travel today

Booking.com’ research exposes that the barriers to inclusive travel still remain for LGBTQ+ travellers. Similarly to LGBTQ+ travellers worldwide, more than half (75%) of LGBTQ+ travellers from Thailand have experienced discrimination while travelling, through being subjected to stereotyping (34%) being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travellers (29%) and/or locals (23%). It’s not surprising that LGBTQ+ travellers face the added complexity of navigating a trip from selecting a destination all the way through to the activities they take part in:

  • 74% of LGBTQ+ travellers say that being part of the community impacts the decisions they make when planning
  • 73% report they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ traveller
  • Over half (58%) of the LGBTQ+ community feel that the destinations on their 'bucket list' have been affected by being part of the community
  • 58% believe being a member of the LGBTQ+ community impacts who they choose to travel with
Promising signs of progress and positivity

While there are many obstacles to inclusive travel for those who identify as LGBTQ+, there are still significant areas where travellers are having positive interactions and experiences, with 85% of LGBTQ+ travellers from Thailand which is equal to the global average reporting that the majority of their travel experiences so far have been welcoming. While 83% report that being part of the LGBTQ+ community actually makes them feel more confident as a traveller, LGBTQ+ in Thailand also share their impression for the property they chose to stay:

  • 31% indicate that they have had friendly and informative correspondence with the property
  • 29% also being offered guidance and information for the local area during their stay.
  • 34% of Thai LGBTQ+ travellers say that they have experienced great first impressions on arrival, such as welcome drinks or friendly staff.
Community connection is key

The research also reveals that the LGBTQ+ community of a destination is key to attracting LGBTQ+ travellers, with 75% of LGBTQ+ travellers from Thailand are more likely to travel to a destination that celebrates its local LGBTQ+ community and history. While LGBTQ+ travellers want a connection with the LGBTQ+ community to enrich their travelling experiences, they also look to brands to support and recognize the community too:

  • 75% more likely to seek out attractions or activities that are tailored to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 71% also research accommodations, brands and experiences ahead of booking to understand the role they play in supporting the LGBTQ+ community
  • The majority (82%) being more likely to book with brands that are making an effort to do so.
A more inclusive travel experience for everyone

As travel experiences must be available to everyone, the new research reveals an opportunity for industry and travellers to collaborate to paint a truly inclusive world for all. Booking.com, as a travel enabler, recognizes the critical role properties play in providing a more inclusive experience and is taking action to pave the way for everyone to Travel Proud.

  • Booking.com’s Proud Hospitality training program (developed in partnership with HospitableMe) is to help hospitality professionals understand the challenges and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community face when travelling, providing them with practical skills and techniques that they can immediately put into practice at their property. There are now also more than 10,000 Proud Certified properties across 95 countries and territories on the platform.
  • Upon completion of the online course, and the commitment to deliver a more inclusive experience, Booking.com praise Proud Certified partners with a Travel Proud badge on their property page to show potential guests that they can rely on a more welcoming experience, demonstrating their potential to provide an equal experience. A selection of cities with multiple Proud Certified properties are further showcased on a designated Travel Proud page, where travellers can learn more about the initiative, as well as find and book Proud Certified properties.

“At Booking.com, we believe everyone should be able to experience the world as themselves, always. As a gay traveller myself, I’ve faced barriers to travel and discrimination but have also witnessed progressive change over the years. By taking action to pave the way for a more inclusive industry, we hope to set the stage for wider change that will up the standard of travel for everyone.” says Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.